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Interwar Years
The 1930s: Rebuilding the Royal Canadian Navy

Despite the severe financial climate of the Great Depression and political infighting, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) survived mainly as a coastal defence force. This period also saw the delivery of the first major warships designed and built for the RCN.

Launching HMCS Saguenay, July 1930

This photograph shows dignitaries, naval officers, and some of the shipyard workers who had helped build HMCS Saguenay just before its launching at Woolston, England.

George J. Desbarats, Canada's deputy minister of national defence (centre right, with beard), was among those present for the launch of the first destroyer designed and built for the Royal Canadian Navy. He stands near his wife Lilian (centre), who will formally launch Saguenay by releasing the bottle of champagne suspended midway between her and the ship. The bottle will shatter across Saguenay's bow (left), after which the ship will slide backwards into the water.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19710203-002_2